Good things come in small packages… and that’s never so true as when it comes to compact 4x4s. Easy handling, extra space in all the right places, good economy and great capability all in one package. With so many on the market these days you might be asking yourself, “Which is the best small 4x4 for me?”
No longer reserved for the great British countryside, 4x4s have become known for supplying that extra bit of traction required in many slippery or sticky situations, on or off road. But those looking for a capable car don’t always need the masses of space that comes with larger 4x4s.
Size certainly isn’t everything, however not all SUVs come with a 4x4 or all-wheel-drive (AWD) option, so we’re here to give you the lowdown on some of the best small 4x4s we’ve had the pleasure of driving.
Jeep Renegade - the Adventurous One
Jeeps are renowned for their off road capability and the smallest, the Jeep Renegade, is no exception. Recently updated, it’s literally a breath of fresh air, with a powered tilt and slide sunroof providing extra light and ventilation when you need it. The MySky removable roof panels allow you to get even closer to the outdoors - perfect when you’re venturing off the beaten track.
It’s also rammed full of eye-catching details, such as Jeep’s iconic X-shaped LED rear lights and 7-slot grille. At 4,236 mm long, the Jeep Renegade provides the aditional advantage of a decent boot space of 351 to 1297 litres (rear seats down).
4x4 comes as standard with the Limited and Trailhawk trims, along with a choice of 3 2.0-litre diesel engines, including a 140 HP 6-speed manual, or 140HP or 170HP 9-speed automatic gearbox and incorporating Selec-TerrainTM with 5 settings - Auto, Sand, Snow, Mud and Rock. Truly a small 4x4 for any occasion.
SEAT Ateca - the Stylish One
Oozing Spanish design and flair, the SEAT Ateca isn’t the smallest of the SEAT SUVs, but it is the most compact with proper off road ability. A wide range of colour choices - including 8 different metallic shades - optional front and rear styling kits, and bold interior decorative choices allow you to tailor this sophisticated 4x4 to your own style.
Sharp lines and 4Drive make the SEAT Ateca strong in appearance as well as handling prowess. Full LED headlights and 19” alloy wheels reinforce its presence on the road as a force to be reckoned with, even though it measures just 4,363mm long.
Driving this stunning small 4x4 couldn’t be easier. Front Assist and Pedestrian Protection allow you to keep a safe distance from other road users, reducing the possibility of accident. And with Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Assist Traffic Jam Assist, Blind Spot Detection and state-of-the-art lighting technology, you’ll feel equally as confident whether you’re negotiating the city or heading out onto the motorway.
Audi Q2 - the Clever One
Unusually for Audi, quattro isn’t standard throughout the Audi Q2 range, so you’ll have to choose the 40 TFSI petrol or the 35 TDI diesel engine to benefit from all-wheel-drive. What does come included in all models is the Audi Smartphone Interface which seamlessly integrates sat nav, phone, music and even some third-party apps, all operated from a 7”, full colour MMI controller, multi-function steering wheel and voice control system.
Further tech can be added with Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, wireless charging and Connect Infotainment Services, which comes complete with internet subscription.
The Audi Q2’s safety features get a good dose of technology too, with Audi Pre-sense Front which warns the driver about other vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians, automatically applying the emergency brake if necessary.
In a tight spot, this small 4x4 is ably assisted by rear parking sensors, included in the price of all five trim levels. Rear passengers will be able to hide their smugness with the privacy glass while enjoying the sun shining through the optional panoramic roof.
Volkswagen T-Roc - the Fearless One
You’ll definitely stand out on the road when you drive the Volkswagen T-Roc. It may be a small 4x4 but it’s every inch a capable car, thanks to the dynamic design and optional 4MOTION 4-wheel-drive. Helpful additions such as electric tailgate and rear view camera make life even easier.
Subscription to Volkswagen Car-Net and e-call emergency call service is included in the price on SEL and R-Line trim, while Lane Assist and Front Assist are standard features all round, giving you peace of mind wherever and whenever you’re travelling.
All of this confidence is well-complemented by the pleasure offered by a leather steering wheel, paddle gear shift and comfort seats or optional front sports seats, all enjoyed along with ambient lighting. It’s not all about following the crowd - driver profile select allows you to set and save your own individual preferences for steering, air con and driving - perfect if you share your car with a partner or grown-up children.
Jaguar E-Pace - the Luxurious One
Four different engines, available in manual or automatic configuration, provide a good deal of variety in this ever so desirable small 4x4. The Jaguar E-Pace may be compact but everything seems bigger and better when you’re treated to such extravagance, including the 10” audio‑visual touchscreen, heated seats, armrests and metal, Jaguar-embossed footplates, as standard.
Whatever the weather, heated door mirrors, 8‑way heated front seats, 2-zone climate control and heated rear windscreen make your journey much more enjoyable, along with an electric parking brake, rear view camera and front and rear parking sensors to help you out in tight spaces.
Luxury spills over to the exterior, where twin tailpipes, a tailgate spoiler, automatic LED lights and 17" 10 spoke, Gloss Sparkle Silver alloy wheels will make you the envy of all onlookers. And if the Jaguar badge isn’t enough to make people stop and stare, chrome side vents and satin black window surrounds might just do the job.